ICJP accuses UK of double standards, urges referring 'Israel' to ICC
British NGO says Israeli policies against Palestinians "amount to the crime of apartheid and should be deemed a violation of the ICC statute."
The International Centre for Justice for Palestinians (ICJP), located in the UK, has urged the British government to refer "Israel" to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes committed in Palestine.
This comes shortly after the UK decided to lead a coordinated group of ICC State Parties in jointly referring the situation in Ukraine to the Court.
"It is a gross double standard that while the UK government assists and facilitates international accountability and legal action against the leader of one nation for war crimes, they support and engage in friendly relations with another," Tayab Ali, ICJP director, and partner at Bindmans LLP, said.
The ICJP director made the comments in a letter submitted to UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary James Cleverley on Friday, following London’s decision to lead the joint referral of the situation in Ukraine to the ICC.
"Palestinians are entitled to the same rights and protections under international law as those living in any other territory, and it is imperative that the UK government demonstrates that it supports justice and accountability for the perpetrators of war crimes in all circumstances – regardless of whether the perpetrators of those war crimes are deemed to be friend or foe," he added.
The UK-based NGO also urged London to refer Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, to the ICC as soon as possible in compliance with Britain's obligations as an ICC State Party.
In the letter, the ICPJ stated that there is reason to believe that Israeli occupation forces committed war crimes during the 2014 aggression on the Gaza Strip, most notably the deliberate targeting of medical staff and vehicles.
The pro-Palestine rights organization also voiced its "deep concern" on the escalation of human rights abuses in Palestine, especially recent Israeli raids in the occupied West Bank that have killed at least 85 Palestinians since January 2023.
The ICPJ also criticized "Israel's" ongoing illegal settlement expansion and the demolition of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank and Al-Quds, highlighting that such policies "fall within the definition of the crime of apartheid, contrary to the ICC statute."
The big picture
As soon as he reached 10 Downing street on Friday, Israeli occupation Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was met with shouts and whistles from hundreds of protesters opposing the Israeli government's proposed "juridical overhaul".
On the steps of Downing Street, Netanyahu shook hands with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak before their low-profile meeting, while nearby protesters shouted, "Netanyahu go to jail, you can't speak for 'Israel'."
The London scenes echoed those in Berlin earlier this month, where hundreds gathered at the Brandenburg Gate to protest the Israeli government's planned "judicial overhaul" to limit the Israeli Supreme Court's power, which ignited weeks of mass protests that further exposed the division in Israeli society.
The Berlin protests came in parallel with Netanyahu's visit to the German capital, where he met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz who expressed concerns about the "judicial overhaul".
Netanyahu's visit to London comes days after Israeli occupation Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met with his British counterpart James Cleverly in the city for talks.
Cohen and Cleverly signed an agreement called the 2030 Road Map for UK-Israeli Bilateral Relations to boost trade and security ties between "Israel" and the UK.
In response, the Palestinian Mission to the UK and the opposition Labour party raised concerns about the recent agreement.
Palestinian Ambassador to Britain, Husam Zomlot, considered that the UK-Israeli treaty "represents an abdication of the UK’s responsibilities under international law and the UK’s unique historic responsibility for the Palestinian issue."